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Briefing Date:06/19/2013
Topic:Effects of U.S. Tax Policy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
National Research Council
Policy and Global Affairs
Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy
Committee on the Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Congressional Briefings
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
1111 Longworth House Office Bldg. – 9:00 a.m.
366 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg. – 11:00 a.m.
415 Hart Senate Office Bldg. – 12:00 p.m.
215 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg. – 1:00 p.m.
420 Hart Senate Office Bldg. – 2:00 p.m.
and
441 Cannon House Office Bldg. – 4:30 p.m.

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on

Effects of U.S. Tax Policy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

by

FRANCISO (PACO) DE LA CHESNAYE, Program Manager and Senior Economist, Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. and Member, Committee on the Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

BRIAN C. MURRAY, Professor and Director of Economic Analysis, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University and Member, Committee on the Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

ERIC TODER, Co-Director, Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center and Urban Institute Fellow, and Member, Committee on the Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In the context of ongoing debates about budget deficits and tax reform, climate change, and national energy policy, Congress asked the National Academies to review the entire Internal Revenue Code and identify the tax provisions that produce the largest increases or reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and to estimate the magnitude of those effects (P.L. 110-343, Division B, Title I, Sec. 117). To undertake this task, the Academies assembled a committee of experts in tax policy, economics, climate science, environmental law, and energy and climate modeling.

Because the tax code changes from year to year through congressional action and expiring provisions, the committee chose the 2011 code as its baseline for their report. The committee, then, made a preliminary selection of tax provisions to study based on several criteria – close association with energy production and consumption (the largest source of domestic GHG emissions), large revenue consequences, and large effects on patterns of output and consumption across the economy. The energy-related provisions included excise taxes on highway motor and aviation fuels as well as tax subsidies for biofuels, electricity production from renewable resources, and oil and gas production. The broad-based provisions with potentially large indirect effects on GHG emissions included tax breaks for owner-occupied housing and employee-sponsored health insurance and incentives for capital investment through accelerated depreciation of industrial machinery and equipment.

These briefings were for members of Congress and congressional staff only. The report was publicly released on Thursday, June 20, 2013 and can be found, in its entirety, on the Web site of the National Academies Press.

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